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Lighting Suggestions, please!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by tenor_singer, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. tenor_singer

    tenor_singer Active Member

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    My community voted for a new high school building that will include an auditeria ( cafeteria with a stage in it that has acoustic walls, etc...). My questions:

    1. What kind of dimming would you suggest I get... ex. should I tell the board that they should look into 2.4kw or 1.2kw dimmers and if so what is a good brand... etc.?
    2. What kind of control would you suggest I get... I currently try... and fail a lot... to light a 32 x 28' stage space with 16, 1.2kw channels using 4 RD6000+ NSI portable dimmers and a 2-scene, 16 channel non-DMX controller.
    3. Any suggestions that I haven't asked would also be appreciated.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    First off, Congratulations!

    In my opinion, NSI Makes excellent dimmer paks, but I would choose a different brand of board. Most of NSI's boards are "entry-level" and some of the quality may be compromised. The NSI Innovator, I think, is the biggest one out there from NSI and includes VGA Monitors, encoders, and a good cue capacity with a floppy drive, but so far I haven't heard much good about this desk. If you can get your hands on an ETC Express, go for it! If your budget is lower, their Acclaims are nice, but there are only eight submasters on the 24/48 in my studio, which leaves something to be desired. In our main house, we run an Expression 3, 1024 ch. As for dimming, NSI is good in that department, but ETC's racks are also nice.
    The sensor series is very common for theatrical purposes, and Unison is widely used in the architectural markets. A Strand CD-80 is also solid.
    If I had my choice, I would go with ETC as much as possible; even on lighting equipment, but I will admit that their products can be hard to afford.
     
  3. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    Also, 2.4kw dimmers are best if your channel capacity is restricted. If you have more channels than lights go, with the 1.2's, and vise-versa.
    Does your lighting/dimming system have to be portable?
     
  4. tenor_singer

    tenor_singer Active Member

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    "Also, 2.4kw dimmers are best if your channel capacity is restricted. If you have more channels than lights go, with the 1.2's, and vise-versa.
    Does your lighting/dimming system have to be portable?"

    Lester...

    Thank you for the reply.

    My dimming/lighting system is portable because our school's stage is in the gym (otherwise known as "Mecca" because if we scratch the floor we get howled at... you know... bow and pray to Mecca Thrice daily). I do not have a grid to leave the lights on. I have to tear down my lighting EVERY night after a tech rehearsal (which makes focusing and aiming a real joy), so I made things as portable as possible. I have what my tech kids refer to lovingly as "the tree" which is an ancient breaker box with 8 20-A feeds running out to 8 20-A plugs shaped like a christmas tree below the breaker box. I have to run extension cords from "the tree" to the dimmers on the gym floor where I hang lights from a pair of 50 year old physical education class-hand-me-down volleyball poles. The other packs are suspended from our "on stage grid" which consists of 2 x 4's butterflied tight to the plaster mesh that constitutes the ceiling, spaced every 4', from which light batons are suspended by chain. It works considering, but the payment I have had to make for portability is that I have about 3,000 feet of SO 12/2 at $.65 per foot...lol.

    Thanks again for your suggestions :)!

    Yours in theater...

    tenor.
     
  5. Smatticus

    Smatticus Active Member

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    I'm with Lester for looking into ETC consoles, they are very straightforward and easy to use and have alot of features on top of that (submasters, cues, groups, macros, etc). Because they are straightforward and user friendly they are a good choice if there are any number of people with limited experience operating it. I'm a student and I've learned alot about our ETC board but when I have to explain how to use it to someone else it isn't very difficult to do. I know less about dimming but from my experience ETC's equipment is very reliable and they offer portable racks too I believe. Hope you find everything you are looking for!
     
  6. tenor_singer

    tenor_singer Active Member

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    Thank you for the information, smatticus. I will definately be doing some research into ETC.

    yours in theater...

    tenor
     
  7. Smatticus

    Smatticus Active Member

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    You're welcome, good luck with finding what you need! Also good luck with dealing with your school board. When our school did a renovation on our auditorium a local technical director tried to work with the school board when they were making decisions about the theatre and unfortunately it didn't go very well and they just did things their own way and now we have to work around their mistakes every day. Hope everything goes well for you, I can't even imagine working in an 'auditeria' as you described it, it sounds like a real pain to do anything with your lights, 8O , yikes, well, good luck!
     
  8. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    1. What kind of dimming would you suggest I get:
    Given it needs to be portable, or out of the floor space, I would go with shoe box type dimmers mounted either on portable trees or perminantly in the lighting grid. That way all you have to do is drop down the DMX line to the temporary control booth for shows and you are set. Power can very likely be brought to the grid if such a thing were hung, otherwise some cable ramps and trees placed by wall outlets would be appropriate. Granted you would really need to do a electrical layout of the room to see which outlet is on which breaker and distribute the load after that. Or have the maintinence crew wire such outlets for your purposes. This would be more expensive than giving you somewhere backstage to tie in the dimmers at, but allow you to have the full stage area without necessity of a cage around it all to keep the kids out when not in use. Such a cage will probably be necessary in this multi-purpose room given you have a stage and it's not something portable. If portable, much easier to put the dimmer packs in the air. Hopefully you can get a lighting grid or some pipes installed with power to them. This would not be asking too much and allow you to store most of your lighting equipment in the air given you are not too worried about food fights and thrown objects.

    This type of dimmer pack is also very cheap in expense - Leprecon is the best in this type. A six pack dimmer can be powered by two twenty amp circuits thus you are getting either two dimmers at 2.4Kw or some combination of six dimmers at 600w each. Leaves you more money for lights and a control board. Also, as opposed to needing to run each dimmer circuit from where ever the pack is, you can just run two power cables to it and one DMX line daisy chaining all packs. You will be able to add more dimmer packs without much cost and put the power where you need it. Best system for a perminant portable or multi-use space on a budget. You will also save a lot of money on the amount and lengths of cable you otherwise need. If you do have to snake your cable all over the stage to get to outlets, for any run over 75' I would switch to 10/3 SO grade of wire feeding the dimmer over the 12/3. It just won't take the load otherwise.


    2. What kind of control would you suggest I get... I currently try... and fail a lot... to light a 32 x 28' stage space with 16, 1.2kw channels using 4 RD6000+ NSI portable dimmers and a 2-scene, 16 channel non-DMX controller.

    Seems you already have this type of dimmer. NSI is not bad and since you have them I would stick with that brand, just get the bigger brothers either Leprecon or NSI for your primary locations and save the four channel ones for other work. How many depends upon how many lights you have. As for boards, not my field.


    On the other questions now gone, $0.65 per foot for 12/3 SO is not too bad of a price. If you keep looking you might be able to get it down to about $0.50 per foot if you buy a minimum of 500' at a time from souces such as an electrical supplier. Think I'm at about $0.33 per foot given a price increase recently, but I buy one or two thousand feet at a time in addition to other spools.

    For fixtures I would probably go with used S-4 Lekos for the primary lights, perhaps 2/3 of them at that, and some otherwise used Altman 360Q series fixtures in wide focus for use over the stage. Same with used S-4 Pars and Fresnels. You will probably be only able to get the 575w versisons - no big loss for your situation. Perhaps two rated at 750w.
     

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